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Dow Futures Point to Friday Bloodbath as Coronavirus Shock Hits Home

Dow Futures Point to Friday Bloodbath as Coronavirus Shock Hits Home
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  • Dow Jones futures plunged by as much as 623 points in overnight trading Thursday.
  • U.S. stocks are coming off their worst day of trading since 1987 as trillions were wiped from major exchanges.
  • Empty store shelves, cancelled sports seasons and remote work orders to prevent coronavirus spread exemplify how ordinary life is being disrupted in North America.

Futures on the Dow and broader U.S. stock market plunged anew Thursday evening, as investors came to terms with the reality that life is about to change drastically amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Dow Futures Point to Friday Selloff

The U.S. futures market traded sharply lower overnight, extending a brutal selloff that has engulfed Wall Street for the better part of three weeks. Dow Jones mini futures contracts were off by as much as 623 points to reach an intraday low of 20,321.00.

At the time of writing, the Dow Jones futures contract was down 522 points, or 2.5%, to 20,563.00.

The Dow 30 index is on track to open sharply lower on Friday. | Chart: Yahoo Finance

S&P 500 futures were off 2% at 2,420.50. Futures on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index were down 2.6% to 7,027.00.

Asian markets had all plunged by the start of Friday’s trading session. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index collapsed 8%. Mainland China’s CSI 300 Index was down 2.7%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index plunged 5%.

Coronavirus Hits Closer to Home

U.S. equity markets are coming off an historic rout that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose 10% in a single session. The loss marked the index’s biggest single-day retreat since 1987.

Investors are panicking because coronavirus is no longer a perceived threat, but a contagion that’s disrupting everyday life. With the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League suspending their seasons indefinitely, ordinary Americans are beginning to realize the severity of the problem. And they’re feeling it at the grocery store where, among other things, people are making a run for toilet paper.

Big tech firms are already ramping up remote work orders to contain a possible virus outbreak. Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Twitter have all implemented work-from-home policies for many or all of their employees.

President Trump failed to allay concerns about the impact of coronavirus after floating the idea of massive tax relief for businesses and workers. By focusing on containing coronavirus, Trump has essentially given up on the stock market– the once crowning jewel of his presidency.

The capitulation could be seen in his Wednesday night address where he issued a blanket ban on travel from Europe with the exception of the United Kingdom.

The United States has the eighth-highest incidence of coronavirus cases, though the number of confirmed infections is rising sharply. The U.S. government shipped out 2.1 million COVID-19 testing kits by Monday, so the number of confirmed infections is likely to rise in the coming weeks as more people are tested.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Last modified: March 13, 2020 3:37 AM UTC

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